Evanston’s offshore wind power plant closer to become reality (USA)

Evanston’s proposed wind energy power plant off the shores of Lake Michigan is closer to becoming reality.

Three developers met this summer’s deadline and have submitted responses to the City of Evanston’s request for information about building such a facility, according to Nathan Kipnis, architect and member of the environmental organization Citizen’s for a Greener Evanston.

City manager Wally Bobkeiwicz is reviewing the findings and will make recommendations to the City Council and public on what steps to take next, Kipnis said. In the meantime, Citizens for a Greener Evanston is conducting presentations for residents in an effort to answer any questions.

Though 12 developers had initially expressed interest in the facility, Kipnis said it was expected that fewer companies would respond based on the size and scope of the project.

“Consider this the scribbling on the back of a cocktail napkin,” said Kipnis. “We’re just now moving forward to see if this will actually make sense for our community.”

If initial plans meet approval, Evanston will put out a call for formal proposals.

According to Kipnis, the proposed wind farm would provide enough power for 50,000 homes, more than enough for the 30,000 homes in the city with electricity left over to power other city needs. The turbine formation would be located approximately eight miles off the lakeshore, just east of Northwestern University. Even on clear days, Kipnis said, the turbines would be barely visible on the horizon.

Initial research indicates that the site is ideal, with adequate wind speeds and shallow waters.

Offshore wind turbines cost anywhere from $13 to $15 million each, including installation, compared to a $10 million for a land-based turbine. But they have the added benefit that they can be placed very near coastal cities, which erases the need for long distance transmission lines from far-off rural locations.


Source: medill, August 31, 2010;